ablaze: radiant with light or emotion.
"Autumn's Grey Solace have rebuilt the shimmering craft of ethereal/shoegazer rock and have equipped it with their own essentials. Erin Welton's luminous vocals are untethered and airy, but her tenderness keeps her real, while Scott Ferrell's guitar envelops and cushions her in a fabric of smoothly shifting color and texture." - Gothic Beauty
The flame of inspiration continues to burn brightly on Ablaze, the fifth album (in six years) from ethereal shoegaze artists Autumn's Grey Solace. Ablaze contains eleven tracks of passionately created dreampop gems. Erin Welton's crystal clear vocal melodies soar into the heavens while Scott Ferrell's lush backdrop of guitars and other stringed instruments are richly orchestrated, with great attention paid to clarity and detail. The music is alive with blazing, echoing guitar chords, sun-kissed vocal harmonies, and a blistering rhythm section. Ablaze is a warm, glowing version of shoegaze, and celebrates the beauty and romanticism of the genre.
"Whereas other bands pile on the doom and gloom to an almost suffocating degree, Autumn's Grey Solace lets the music breathe. They possess a shimmering beauty that shines through the shadows. A fragile beauty, perhaps, but a beauty nonetheless." - Liar Society
"Scott Ferrell's gorgeous treated guitars, Welton's honey voice, and a Lush-ious late-night, glide through wintry evergreens ears -- like the later Cocteaus circa Heaven and Las Vegas or Milk & Kisses. Love it." - The Big Takeover
The 1st thing that comes to mind from Autumn's Grey Solace is the lush delicate melodies and the wonderfully warm female vocals. I want to call this Progressive Shoegazer music but I don't know if it does it justice in any proper manner. Erin Welton's vocal's remind me a lot of Anneke ( ex Gathering) and Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses) with a bit of Sarah McLachlan thrown in for good measure. Erin is very talented to say the least. I really like the Guitar and synth lines that Scott Ferrell seem to ebb and flow through out every track almost effortlessly . There are some light Jazz and R & B feelings that come from time to time. The thick bass lines really shine in certain places. While more about the moody and vibe of it all there are some very textural complexities of Autumn's Grey Solace. The production of this release is huge and fills the headphones in all the ways you want these lazy drifting tones will. There is a dark sexuality to the vocals at time which add another layer to it as a whole. For my 1st review of a Projekt Cd in years this is a big thumbs up.
The cover art of Autumn's Grey Solace's 2008 album is, contextually, a shock to the system -- fire imagery everywhere when the duo always seemed tailor-made for images of serene contemplation does make for a break from the past. But while Erin Welton's lyrics often touch on matters of betrayal and broken hearts throughout the album, matching the sense of angry emotional upheaval her fierce look on the cover suggests, Ablaze is, for better or worse, yet another Autumn's Grey Solace album -- which is a touch unfortunate to note at this stage of their existence. Having started out with the ghosts of bands like Cocteau Twins and especially Love Spirals Downwards hanging over their heads just by virtue of their general approach, their steps to establishing their own clear identity have been sometimes fitful but noticeable, especially on the immediately previous Shades of Grey. With Ablaze, Welton and Scott Ferrell seem to be at peace with their particular niche in that vein of rich guitar textures and serene vocals -- ultimately there's very little surprising on the album, but neither is there anything disappointing as a result. Within this context, Ablaze's 11 songs make for the pleasant listen it is, lyrical undercurrents tempered by the entrancing flow of Ferrell's guitar constructions. (The liner notes make a point of there being no keyboards and synthesizers on the album -- fair enough to make, but quite honestly it might not have even been noticed had it not been pointed out.) Songs like "Immortal Muse" and "Eternal Light" (itself one of the darker songs thanks to the bass-led growl on the verses from Ferrell), as well as the more sprightly acoustic guitar parts on "Sea of Honesty" are particularly noteworthy. Rating: 3/5 - Ned Raggett
Fifth album from this prolific dreampop duo. In Endlessly, the song itself is the sort of upbeat pop that would sound at home in the repertoire of any 60s or mid 80s janglepop band, but Autumn's Grey Solace add atmospheric shoegazer instrumentation that prevents the track from sounding too sugary. Into the Stream combines laid-back floaty dreampop with jazz. Eternal Light is quite simply majestic - a really beautiful and moving atmospheric pop song. A Rhythm that Writhes is much darker in tone than the rest of the album, introducing heavy rock and gothic elements alongside the band's usual shoegazer sound. Imaginary Grey combines sombre lyrics with a light and playful melody and jangly pop arrangement. Angelspeak is a wonderfully evocative piece with echoey choral-style vocals. A very fine dreampop album, recommended to all who appreciate this genre.
You would think that it would be more difficult for Ethereal/Shoegazer acts to find an audience these days than it used to be, and yet the style seems to continue forward in a healthy fashion despite its perceived limitations. Invariably the bands are compared to pioneers such as My Bloody Valentine and Love Spirals Downwards, but it's not enough to be just another clone of one of those originators. Something has to set you apart. There needs to be a reason for people to continue coming back for more which goes beyond similarities to past favorites.
From the onset it seemed that singer Erin Welton and multi-instrumentalist Scott Ferrell possessed the aptitude to make hauntingly diaphanous music, yet much of the duo's early work merely echoed the sonic pathways tread by the Dream Pop progenitors. While their initial recordings, such as 2002's Within The Depths Of A Darkened Forest and Over The Ocean from 2004, showcased the ability to deftly maneuver through exquisite soundscapes previously mapped out by LSD and the Cocteau Twins it wasn't until their fourth album, Shades Of Grey in 2006, that Autumn's Grey Solace seemed to seek out varietal textures that added new dimensions to their sound. Tracks like the heavy and insistent "Cold Sea" along with the curiously syncopated "In The Darkest Night" brought a new depth to their approach while forays into areas more familiar to fans of the Sundays ("Fodderwing") lifted Welton and Ferrell's efforts above and beyond those of comparable artists.
Their latest album, Ablaze, is as subconsciously alluring as the gorgeous cover that adorns the CD. With production that finally finds the perfect balance between Ferrell's instrumentation and Welton's beautiful vocals, it is Welton herself that benefits most from this new collection. Her voice sounds better and more full than it ever has before. Ferrell has evolved as a songwriter, fully realizing the potential of the subgenres he uses as a foundation for his dreamy song craftsmanship. There is no cheating with synth or keyboards. Each lush tone is brought about organically, though one cannot discount the effects of a myriad overdubs.
"Endlessly" starts things off with a lucid vocal melody that bests anything AGS has yet produced and slyly becomes more infectious with each spin. Welton is endearing and irresistible over the ringing guitar tones which take on truly celestial properties. They follow that up with the more straightforward "Fluttermoth," which fluidly explodes at the chorus into a soaring, stratospheric course of flight.
The searing instrumentation of "Immortal Muse" is juxtaposed by a breathy vocal performance while "A Rhythm That Writhes" blasts forward with menacing, distorted aural waves crashing upon the eardrums with a satisfying crunch. Autumn's Grey Solace have never sounded this confidently varied in their approach. Ablaze isn't an experimental album but it does serve as a laudable demonstration of the wide array of influences that have driven a talented act to create synergistic music worthy of a great deal of attention.
While both members have stepped up their game this time out it is Welton that is to be commended for exhibiting such controlled power and grace on each of these eleven tracks, boldly stretching her vocal capabilities during "Imaginary Grey," even if it can get a bit cloying during a few passages. Fortunately it never dissolves into an overly saccharine affair. And the uplifting album closer, "Angelspeak," owes a great deal to the singer's ability to just let go and allow her voice to float lithely above the fray.
There's no question that fans of the genre ought to include this in their collection. Ablaze ignites passions heretofore relegated to a dreamy, vaporous consistency. Yet it never crosses the line into the melodramatic, relying on simple atmospherics that manage to heighten a humanistic, emotional resonance. Even if you have yet to delve into this style of music a release this enjoyable makes for some satisfying exploration. -Christopher Roddy
This their 4th album under the Projekt label. Autumn’s Grey Solace show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Some bands can be criticised for working too fast and the results not bearing much fruit. But this duo of Erin Welton and Scott Ferrell seem to have too many ideas they want to play with – and the only answer is to produce the albums.
Their efforts seem to have paid off again. Their style quite often compared to the more Cocteau elements of the Darkwave music scene. Welton’s ethereal swooning with Ferrell’s echoing and haunted music always there as a perfect template. After this many albums they may be soon running close to repeating themselves. Welton takes care of that by trying a few things she hasn’t in the past. Ferrell as the man behind the music has a tougher task and there are indeed echoes of what fans will have heard before. This could have been solved by maybe discovering a few more instruments that may have given off a different sound. But for the fresh ear which sadly is most of the people in the UK it won’t matter. If anything ‘Ablaze’ it is still a great opening to a band whose work is going from strength to strength in the face of commerciality.
The album opens with ‘Endlessly’ which is apt given the repetative swaying, but it also seems like a more upbeat opening number for AGS. And this is what could well be what is different about this album. It seems to be much more cheerful that past efforts. ‘Riverine’ in particular was much more of a moody and depressed masterpiece. Here there is more of soulfulness going on here. There is still plenty of gothic swooning to be had. ‘Fluttermouth’ is proof of that. But maybe AGS have given themselves a break and decide to give a more of a relaxed feeling for their listener.
Not to let words like ‘relaxed’ fool any fan. Erin’s voice isn't any more alive than it has been than in Tusk. You can only wonder what kind of training she may have put herself through in order to make her voice this angelic and operatic. ‘Eternal Light’ and ‘A Rythym that Writhes’ provide more great examples of AGS works. Both very much contrasted by mood, but still both wonderful pieces of work. The latter pays close tribute to an earlier 80’s Darkwave feel. These little experiments can end up being Parody’s or mere copies, but AGS manage to actually make a very good song that can stand side by side to their predecessors, if not above them.
It's certainly nice that they have a label that specialises in the format, anyone indeed interested in any form of Darkwave should check out the Projekt website. But as it is a small label it’s unfortunate that tools at their disposal are limited as there is many a fine artist onboard. Autumn’s Grey Solace is easily one of their best. -Steven Hurst
Keeping up with their break-neck speed of writing and creating new music we're presented with this, their fifth full-length album. At this point this band is working hard to become the next memorable act to grace this genre and hold our attention for an entire decade or more. In my mind they've already accomlished so much, so to see them continue to release this excellent music is incredible. This latest album continues where they left off, creating new and diverse, captivating soundscapes through the eleven stellar tracks presented here.
Staying with their tried and true style we have one beautiful piece right after another. They also seem to have abandoned for the most part any shift towards a driving rock sound with a few exceptions like "A Rhythm That Writhes". This piece blends a slight touch of metal with the soaring mix of guitars and driving percussion for a real highlight to the album. In general they remain with the somber beauty in pieces that lilt along with spring-like beauty. A perfect example of this and a perfect way to start off the album is "Endlessly" which is truly spellbinding with a waltz-like rhythm and an incredible array of guitars to form such a full sound and backdrop to the sweet vocals. "Fluttermoth" brings out a more standard dream-pop approach to the album with many similarities to ethereal greats from years past though it seems to create a new standard with this and other pieces.
It's incredibly hard to choose favorites on this album they all stand out in their light in so many ways. From the driving and crunching guitars on a few select pieces that are heavier to the soft and lilting beauty of others it's all so dreamy and spellbinding. I think people can take comfort in know this band has proven themselves four times before and continue to do so in full splendor on this release. Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Autumn's Grey Solace returns with an album of sweeping, passionate shoegaze. Like a mad collision of Cocteau Twins and Lush, Autumn's Grey Solace aren't afraid to take chances; for example, "Fluttermoth" freely mixes emotive ethereal verses with driving dreampop choruses, creating an upbeat tension that is almost unheard of within the genre. Ablaze also has its moments of utter surprise: the ear-catchingly heavy "A Rhythm That Writhes" brings some unexpected rock elements to the forefront. When vocalist Erin Welton sings delicately over a hotbed of crunching guitars, the effect is magical. Ablaze succeeds in creating a unique atmosphere; whereas most ethereal acts dwell on the somber hues of fall and winter, despite their name the music of Autumn's Grey Solace is a bright, blazing summer affair. Rating: 4 out of 5. -Jack
Projekt Records have been a developmental home to several, eternally memorable bands. Those that immediately come to mind are Love Spirals Downwards (now known as Lovespirals), Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Thanatos, and Lycia. All have a unique sound of their own, veering into different territories. With their 5th album, Ablaze, Autumn’s Grey Solace joins their lofty ranks.
Autumn’s Grey Solace has created a stunning shoe-gazer classic with their latest album. Ablaze is filled to the brim with gorgeous, moody music that is a soundtrack to a summer night’s walk through meadows of rising fireflies. Simply, Ablaze is as equally a timeless album in the shoegazer genre as you can get, sidling up to the ones already there.
Eschewing keyboards and synthesizers, their usage of traditional instruments is the backbone of their sound. Creating an incredibly lush, ethereal shoegaze waterfall of sound, a sure-grip soundtrack to the angelic voice of Erin Welton (reminiscent of Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays), Scott Ferrell has produced an essential and enduring album that is mentionable in the same breath as other notable shoegazer classics.
From the perfect “Fluttermoth” (which should be first single off the album), to the OMD-like music of “Eternal Light,” to the wistful “Imaginary Grey,” and the delightful “Sea of Honesty,” Ablaze will mesmerize you completely, just as Love Spirals Downward did in the ‘90s.
Ablaze is the kind of work that you remember decades later, when all the other music has set like the sun, dissipating into nightfall. Adorned with a flawless cover, indicative of the bright music of the duo that forms Autumn’s Grey Solace, Ablaze is rapturous from beginning to end.
Fans of the shoegazer genre have no reason to vacillate on this release. Consider it essential for it surely is. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 -Matt Rowe
A stunningly beautiful shoegazer masterpiece that is sure to leave the listener in awe.
The new masters of shoegazer have returned with what is an absolutely essential album for any fan of this gothic subgenre. Proudly boasting that no keyboards or synthesizers were used in the creation of the album, instrument master Scott Ferrell weaves a lush and dreamy sonic tapestry that absorbs the listener into a world of beauty and warmth with a touch of sadness and melancholy. Magnificently poetic lyrics are perfectly delivered by the sorrowful and soulful voice of Erin Welton only adding to the great emotional effect of the album.
From start to finish, Ablaze is a dazzling work of musicianship that makes it hard to pick out highlights. Tracks like "Tusk" and "Eternal Light" most brilliantly show off the vocal ability of Welton, while "Sea of Honesty" and "A Rhythm that Writhes" show the musical range of Autumn's Grey Solace as they spread their wings a little and incorporate elements outside of their shoegazer roots. The only marginally rough spot on the album comes with the track "Fluttermoth." Though overall just as wonderfully composed and moody as the rest of the album, the track's chorus is mildly jarring due to the vocals, which are a bit too high pitched amid the suddenly increased tempo. However, this is a very small blemish that only stands out due to the perfection that surrounds it.
Ablaze is almost the stuff of legend, and is an absolute must buy album. Autumn's Grey Solace have constructed a true benchmark album that easily ranks amongst the absolute finest shoegazer releases. This is the sort of album that affects the listener with every note and every sorrowful word can be felt deep down in the heart. Ablaze is a touching, vibrant, warm, and passionate album that everyone should own. Rating: 4 out of 5 -Trubie Turner
Il tempo vola, un altro decennio è quasi al capolinea e l’ormai affermato duo della Florida è arrivato alla soglia del quinto album, dopo aver percorso con la giusta gradualità il suo cammino verso un suono sempre più pop nell’alveo di quel tipico ethereal alla Cocteau Twins, che molti figli ha generato dagli anni ’90 in poi. Niente di particolarmente nuovo ed originale quindi, ma un altro centro di casa Projekt, in grado di coinvolgere l’ascoltatore grazie ai suoi ingredienti sì prevedibili, ma sempre gradevoli per il palato. E per ingredienti non intendo solo l’angelica voce di Erin Welton, sulla quale già si è detto tutto, bensì anche l’enorme lavoro strumentale costruito da Scott Farrell, il quale, con un muro di chitarre di ogni genere (a 6, 7, 12 corde, baritone, mandolini), riesce a dare al disco una ricchezza e una pienezza come se ci fosse un’intera orchestra. Un altro elemento positivo di “Ablaze” è che, nei suoi undici brani, viaggia fra una certa gamma di umori: le tracce iniziali ad esempio le trovo veramente troppo leggere nelle loro armonie, segue poi una sorta di nucleo centrale dell’album, costituito da “Immortal Muse”, “Tusk”, “Eternal Light”, “The Moon Nocturnal”, dove la componente pop si fa da parte per lasciare pieno spazio ai toni malinconici, e questa è per mio gusto la parte migliore di tutto il cd. “A Rythm That Writes” mi ricorda terribilmente i Faith & The Muse, sia per il cantato sia per i suoni, ma è comunque molto bella. Chiudono tre brani completamente diversi fra loro, dove svetta la magnifica “Sea Of Honesty”, retrò, acustica e perfetta colonna sonora per un tramonto di fine estate, circondata da una “Imaginary” e “Angelspeak” più in linea con gli umori tristi del blocco centrale. Assolutamente consigliato. - Fabio Degiorgi
This is the kind of band that completely fits the whole Projekt concept and sound. Their music is a perfect mix of heavenly voices, darkwave and romantic gothic. We also clearly perceive some eighties influence in their sound and there is no doubt that the listening of several 4AD bands in their youth helped them forge their own view on music and their ability to compose and produce such spelling musical soundscapes. Erin Welton (female vocalists & lyrics) and Scott Ferrell (guitars and all instruments) know their lesson well and offer professional and well-constructed songs. The angelic and crystal clear vocals are a undeniable asset but the catchy arrangements, the melancholic and emotional music help in creating a very particular universe. Songs like “Fluttermoth”, “Tusk” or the dark “A Rhythm That Writhes” immediately get stuck in your head for a long time. A band to follow closely and a safe buy if you appreciate the Projekt Records output. Rating: 8 CF